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Modern Guilt

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iTunes Review

A compact 33-minute collection from Beck and producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton (Gnarls Barkley) that combines Beck’s shyest shoegazer tendencies with his interest in sonic manipulations, Modern Guilt manages to come across both modest and expansive. Its simple melodies immediately grip, while the production often drifts into dreamlike textures where haunting backing vocals (supplied in part by Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power) add to the supernatural glaze. Strip these songs of their eloquent beats and playful keyboards and catchy, clever folk tunes would emerge. Though he has played himself off over the years as a slacker prince / stoner with a strong stream-of-consciousness streak, Beck supplies his songs with plenty of quick wit and wisdom. But in the end, it’s the sound that counts. “Orphans” evokes the sweetness of the Beach Boys. The title track dips into a psychedelic waltz. “Soul of a Man” includes dive-bomb guitars and flirts with hard rock. “Profanity Prayers” attacks the dancefloor with a manic, rushed, overpacked subway car rhythm. “Volcano” ends things on a suitably restrained, downcast note. Beck expresses himself while hiding in plain view.

Customer Reviews

Beck + Danger Mouse = Blow Your Mind

My only complaint is that it's over in 31:26! I hope these two geniuses plan on doing several albums together like he did with Nigel Godrich (Mutations, Sea Change, Guero & The Information). Beck has definitely found a new soul mate with the way these tracks sound. Another masterpiece without a doubt.

I Love Beck, and don't love this album

as a long time Beck fan i am sad to say that this album is pretty poor. for starters i am not a fan of "DangerMouse" i find his production murky, muddy, and just borring. I found all of these songs to be about the same. the tempo doesnt change much, the songs lack depth, and after a few listens it is clear they are mearly a bassline, some over reverbed dingy drums, and a guitar or bleep here and there. Drum patterns do not have fills or even change for the durration of the songs. it is often hard to hear the melodys because they are so quietly mixed, and there is just a lot of same sounding stuff here. This is Becks third album of quite simple songs, and it is his weakest. perhaps under a different producer these songs would have been a bit fresher sounding. but as they stand on this album they are fairly blah.

Modern Musicians Going Back In Time For Inspiration, Guilt Free.

On first listen, Modern Guilt felt empty. As a fan of Beck since Mellow Gold, I respected the fact that once again he was shifting into another musical landscape but found the album underperformed and underproduced when listening to it on small speakers at a friend's apartment. I could not believe Beck had done that to me after two years of waiting. As I walked outside and into the subway station, I once again played it, on my ipod, just because it was new and it's Beck. Things began to make sense and mold together when listening on good headphones. The simplicity and atmosphere created by Burton blended with the sense of intangible emptiness in Beck's lyrics. The songs, as they ended due to brevity, left me with a desire to listen to them again. The song "Walls" especially is one you seem to not want to end due to it's vibe and then you are thrown into what sonically feels like walking through a futuristic city in this age, like modern Japan with "Replica". There is a lot of neon lights in these songs. Some of those lights are dimming, some are skittering and others are just bright. The songs are short and endlessly original. Beck and Burton seem to have wanted to capture many different moods in a compact way just like The Beatles did in the Revolver days. The mark of a great album is to leave you wanting to repeat the experience and once you do to be rewarded in a new way, every new time. This album does just that.


Born: July 8, 1970 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Initially pegged as the voice of a generation when "Loser" turned into a smash crossover success, Beck wound up crystallizing much of the postmodern ruckus inherent in the '90s alternative explosion, but in unexpected ways. Based in the underground anti-folk and noise-rock worlds, Beck encompassed all manner of modern music, drawing in hip-hop, blues, trash rock, pop, soul, lounge music -- pretty much any found sound or vinyl dug up from a dusty crate -- blurring boundaries and encapsulating how...
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